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  • Time for a change from 4-4-2?

London Cranes to close for confort... Problems in attack.

United London have two strikers who have accumulated over 20+ goals between them, and on top of that a wealth of creative midfielders in Samraj, Emmanuel & Shaun. So why did they have to rely on a late free kick (Beckham vs Greece circa 01) from Shaun Goddard to seal the 3 points against a side in the bottom 3.

Thanks to PlayerTek’s easy to read layout, we can analyse these very issues by looking at the players heat maps & statistics!

Formation & Tactics

Once again, the fans picked a 4-4-2 formation and the coaching staff at United London set the midfield up into a diamond shape. It consisted of Scott Stacy at the deepest point of the diamond, Samraj on the left (drafted in due to Scott Truman’s last-minute withdrawal) and Shaun on the right side of centre midfield, with Emmanuel at the top of diamond.

A very disciplined performance from Scott S and Shaun.

Up front again was Harry and Billy. The back was made up of Peter at Right back, Tacko and Taylor were the centre back partnership, and John Hughes making his debut at Left Back.

The objective was to build a system which allowed the midfield players to play in between lines, & combine with defence and forwards.


Attacking Stats

On the day United London had 25 attempts at goal, but only 5 on target. Looking at the midfield only;

Scott Stacy had 5 attempts at goal, 3 from a corner, the rest outside the area.

Emmanuel had 4, all from outside the area.

Shaun had 3, all from outside the area.

Samraj only had 1, again from outside the area.

Harry and Billy had 4 & 5 respectively, all within the penalty area.


Midfield Penetration?

As stated above United London have a wealth of attacking talent throughout midfield and with the disciplined Scott Stacy offering consistent cover on the day surely, they would be no match for London cranes! However according to the Heat Maps there were only 10 runs made into the box from the midfield and only 3 of them were dynamic. So, what stopped the midfield entering the box?

Both very dynamic with a great variation of direction & speed but barely in the opposition area?


The Front Two

Up front United London have two of the league’s best target men in Harry and Billy. Harry’s average position was in the middle on edge of the Crane area with Billy positioned heavily towards the left of the area.

Every shot from a midfielder came from right side of the area.

For the midfield to penetrate they need gaps to be created from the front two, this normally comes from a diagonal run towards the channels clearing a path way for incoming midfielders.

Billy was more dynamic, but all of his runs were straight and towards the goal and Harry who was less mobile on day only made one diagonal run in the first half. Therefore, we have touched upon an issue, is there is a lack of space preventing midfield to run beyond the opposition defence.

Red line is a dynamic sprint, White is a light sprint and orange for somewhere in middle.

United London have two great goal scorers up front but goal scorers want to score goals, do they want to be making runs into the channels reducing their chances of scoring? if they did, they may see the score lines increase with more midfield penetration.


The formation

The average team in the Essex alliance league will play a 4-5-1 which transitions into 4-3-3. The fans of United London have favoured the 4-4-2 which generally means the midfield are overrun, leading to the midfield being bypassed due to a direct ball from defence. This may work against the less athletic/intelligent teams of the league but against their title chasing rivals United London must develop a more controlled style of play.

In the first half on Saturday the diamond did allow United London to overload the centre of midfield and dominate the possession. However, this dominant possession only amounted to a 1-0 lead at half time due to the lack of runs in behind the opposition defence.

Though there was definitely a lot of opportunity to break defensive lines, particularly on the left hand side where Emmanuel , Samraj and John combined well. Perhaps the midfield were concerned by the risk of getting caught out in transition and being vulnerable to a counter attack.

Could United London be better suited if midfield maestro Scott Truman was added to midfield to partner Scott Stacy? It would add a lot of balance to the side. Resulting in the fantasy points of the creative three, treble.

Shaun would have licence to roam and create, and the dynamic pair of Samraj & Emmanuel could use their movement to hurt defences... But so far United London fans are proving that Mike Bassett’s England manager is still relevant as they have voted in the 4-4-2 in every game except two, which is incredible!



An outsider may see the table and assume United London are doing well, but with the squad they have they could be steam rolling the league.

Saturday’s statistics show that the best goal scoring opportunities fall to just two players, And so far this season United London have lost one, drawn one. Those games were the ones which Harry or Billy never scored in. So, If United London are to beat their title rivals then they must break the chains of the creative midfielders, allowing them to roam forward and add to the attack.

Goals win games, So far, this season the fans have built their side around two target men to score the goals. Will this prove to be formula of success? Saturday hinted that it may not be…

Rogdrick Joselu, United London Analyst

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